April 12, 2006

Paul Haynes, Defensive Backs coach
On the defensive backs
“They are a bunch of young guys that fly around the football. Jamario O’Neal has looked really good along with Anderson Russell.”

On the progression of the defensive backs
“They are coming along well. I think something that really helps us is that we go up against one of the best receiving corps in the nation every day.”

On the defense
“I think that we are going to be faster then we were last season at the defensive back spot. These young guys can really fly around the ball. We just need to get them in the right spots to make plays.”

On the age of the defensive backfield
“They are young — everyone knows that, but in some ways that helps them. We like it as coaches because they will do whatever we ask them to.”

Tim Beckman, Defensive Backs coach
On the defense
“We tell these guys everyday that they just have to keep competing and keep getting after it. All the spots are up for grabs so they all have a shot at starting.”

One the experience of the defensive backfield
“Well we don’t have the Nate Sally or the Donte Whitner anymore and we have to accept that. Malcom Jenkins saw some time last year so that has helped him a great deal.”

On the defensive backfield
“We have just asked them to study themselves. They don’t have to play like the guys we had last year. We just want them to get better everyday.”

On Antonio Smith
“He is a model student-athlete. He just does everything right on and off the field. He does anything you ask him to do and does it to the best of his ability every time.” Antonio Smith, Senior Defensive Back
On earning a scholarship
“I’m pretty excited. It feels really good to get the respect from all the players and coaches. My job doesn’t change though. I am here to compete, play hard and to get better. As long as Coach Tressel has faith in me, I will get better every day.”

On his position at the top of the depth chart
“It’s my fifth year and I’ve put a lot of hard work in. The coaches trust me and they have seen what I can do. Everyone is trying to get better. There are so many guys competing for the top every day.”

Brandon Mitchell, Senior Defensive Back
On the gray team’s win during the Jersey Scrimmage
“The win for the defense was huge, especially for boosting up our young guys’ confidence. It is just another step in preparing us for the start of the season.”

On the team atmosphere
“Sure we are all friends, but everyone is playing their hardest right now. We are all here to make plays and turnovers. It’s a fun competition.”

On his seniority
“I feel like I’m old! My mom was joking with me the other day, saying that my clock is ticking. One advantage of being the “old guy” on the team is that I can give advice to our young players. I point out things that they need work on and give advice if they ask for help.”